So yesterday, I finished up my list of everything I read in 2014. It was quite an undertaking, something I’ve actually been working on since October. While compiling this list, I found myself struck by quite a few things (I read THAT in 2014, instead of 2013? Wow we didn’t get that many issues of Saga this year, did we), but there were a few things that grabbed me the most. They were…
1. Equal love between formats- I separated my list between books (both paper and ebook), audiobooks, graphic novels, short ebooks, literary magazines and comic books. One thing I found kind of funny that between books, audiobooks, and graphic novels, I unknowingly read about the same amount in each category- roughly forty. This wasn’t really a shock as much as something that I found to be a neat coincidence.
2. More love for Nonfiction- The vast majority of what I read is fiction, and will probably always be fiction, but the fact that I went from reading only one nonfiction book in 2013 to reading thirteen works of nonfiction in 2014 is a pretty significant increase, even if the end number isn’t hugely impressive. I think it’s because for such a long time, I always equated nonfiction with “slow,” which is totally not the case. There’s a wide variety of pacing with nonfiction books, just like fiction. It’s all about finding what you’re in the mood for. In fact, three of my favorite reads of last year were nonficiton: Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan, and Wild by Cheryl Strayed, three incredibly different (and incredibly good) titles. I hope this increase in interest continues into 2015.
3. Reading more graphic novels/trade paperbacks- Last year I read twenty-six graphic novels. This year it was forty-three. That’s a big shift! This more or less continues my trend of reading more comics, as well as my new found trend of reading more trade paperbacks versus single issues. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always read plenty of comics in single issue form, especially the ones that I’m already following that way. But comics that feature more complex storylines (especially when combined with a less consistent release schedule), often feel more satisfying when read in big chunks. Oh, and it’s usually cheaper that way.
4. MVPs- The authors I found myself revisiting the most this year rank as follows. I read four works by Kelley Armstrong (three books, one short ebook), Tamora Pierce (four books), Brandon Sanderson (one book, three audiobooks), Agatha Christie (four audiobooks), Gail Simone (four graphic novels), Brain Azzarello (four graphic novels), and Marjorie M. Liu (four graphic novels). I read five works by Laura Lam (one novel, four short ebooks), and Scott Snyder (five graphic novels). And my MVP of the year was Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant. I read two books, listened to four audiobooks, and read one short ebook. That’s a grand total of seven works!
4. Weakness as a Reader in 2014– I’m not a book blogger any more, but I do still read them from time to time. This is the time a year when people might post a master list of what they’ve read, or a list of their favorites. One thing I’m conscious of is when women writers are underrepresented on one of these lists. I don’t think people need to be 50/50 when it comes to gender representation (especially not regular readers, as opposed to book bloggers). I’m not (excluding the single issue comics, I read 74 works written by women, 62 works written by men, and 8 that were a collaborative work somehow between men and women), but it strikes me strange that some readers seem to go out of their way, consciously or subconsciously, to read only works by men.
At the same time, I don’t feel very comfortable complaining about that, because you could look my list and say that it looks like I go out of my way to read mostly works by white people. Excluding collaborative projects, I barely squeak over a dozen, and that could be better. So for one of my New Year’s Resolutions, I’d like to make it an effort to read more fantastic works by POC authors. I usually make a goal to read a hundred books in a year, so if twenty of those are by POC, then that’s an improvement. If I read more (which I usually do), then I should increase that number. This will include reading work by authors I already enjoy (both NK Jemisin and YS Lee have new books coming out this year), as well as finding new writers that I can add to my list of authors to watch. I consider variety to be an important part of anyone’s reading diet, so I’m happy to add a little more variety to mine.
Anything you noticed about the books you read this year? Do you have any reading goals for 2015?